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Stressful Situation

by Danielle Gerber

I walked into the classroom feeling nervous and anxious. Even though I had studied for my accounting test, I couldn’t get rid of the worry inside. My heart pounded as the teacher passed out the tests. “God,” I prayed, “please help me do well and make the right choices.”

Soon my focus turned to the test questions, and before long I found myself at the last problem. My task was to make some journal entries on the test sheet, and the problem stated that the account names should go in order given. But I had a quandary: the names had been arranged in columns. Should I ignore the columns and list them in order from left to right, or should I go down the columns? With a silent prayer in my heart, I chose to work down the columns.

All went well until I finished. That’s when I noticed that the account names had each been assigned a number—and they went from left to right! Fear struck me like a big stone. I had chosen the wrong order to enter the figures—and only seven minutes remained until the end of the test period.

Walking up to the teacher’s desk, I tried to ask her how I should arrange the account names; but she didn’t seem to understand my question, and she sent me away. I went back to my desk feeling even worse than before I asked.

I still had five minutes, so I decided to change my answer—no easy task. Something told me I shouldn’t do it: If I tried to put things in another order now, I might mess everything up. Still, I felt I had to try.

In a frenzy, I began erasing. I had changed only two entries when the teacher said “one minute left.” Terror struck me, and I began to tremble. I had made things worse—and now I had no time to complete my task. What should I do? I sent up silent prayers for help and then I changed my work back to what I had originally written. Feeling the eyes of my classmates on me, I flushed. I knew I was the last one working.

The teacher began picking up tests. She stopped in front of my desk, waiting, as I struggled to finish. When at last I handed her my test, she paused to look at it. I wanted to sink into my chair.

“I don’t count it wrong if you arrange your entries in a different way,” she finally said.

Relief washed over me—but then I felt upset with myself. I had just put myself through a terrible struggle for no reason.

Then another thought came: What if I had messed up my answer while trying to correct it? Tears filled my eyes. I wished I had listened to the still small voice that had told me to leave it alone. God had been trying to tell me it would be OK, but I had been too concerned about my grade and my strict teacher. In consequence, I had tried to change my answer when it was too late to change, and I hadn’t done myself any good.

My stressful situation made me think of how it will be for us at the end of time, when it is too late to change our allegiance. When all is decided, we may wish we could change our characters and be different all of a sudden. But God will say, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). Our choice to follow God or not will have been made, and it will be too late to change our minds.

The testing time is now; we must choose now whom we will serve. Today is the day of salvation, and we don’t know what hour our Lord will come. Just like the clock told me that the end of my test period was rapidly coming, Jesus warns us, “Behold, I come quickly.”

I want to make my choice to follow Jesus now, while there’s still time!


  1. That reminds me of a similar experience that I had recently in an exam. Thank you for the wonderful object lesson.

  2. I think we can all relate to making blunders on tests! Let's pray that God will help us ace the one that really matters. :-)